Getting Real

August 20, 2007

Not too many updates lately, I have been busy completing assignments for my MSc, a lot of it tedious reading through methodologies that should have been left in 2005 where they belong. Still its good to see where today’s methodologies come from or have arisen in opposition to.

I was reading through my system engineering coursework this weekend (has the waterfall life cycle ever worked for anyone?) and having just finished reading 37Signals‘ Getting Real, which should have been subtitled a smaller, faster, better way to build software, I got to thinking about how software itself, the kind of software that we actually build has changed. Ok, so I actually had this thought before and wrote The Six Laws of the New Software about it, and despite the fact that we are now building smaller software that integrates with existing software more than enterprise applications we are still propagating the waterfall life cycle methodology.

Anyway, Getting Real is now available online. All 16 chapters and 91 essays that make up the book available for free. It makes for easy reading and is essential if you’re going to be developing an online application. If you don’t know who 37Signals are, have a look at basecamp or highrise.

Hi – please vote for my manifesto on changethis.com. Its pretty much a guide on how to use crowds to help you raise funds online.

Those of you that have been following this blog, and its predecessor ikissnoise for a while, will know that I have been a big fan of LinkedIn as a social network for business people. They do seem to be lagging behind the rest of the social networking crowd in terms of features. A recent announcement that they will be releasing an API within the next 9 months has been met with some criticism that it is too little too late.

So what other strategies are open to someone who has seemingly missed the API bus? Jeremiah Owyang recently posted some interesting thoughts on his blog.

One key feature I see that LinkedIn from benefiting is to become the online source of the resume, not just the networks that are connected to the jobs. Help users to answer; “what skills have I learned, who else has them, where can I find others with these skills”. There’s an opportunity to expand the tool as the online resume.

If LinkedIn is to become the premiere social networking tool for businesses (as stated in this article) then they need to consider joining all the communities that existing in the context of business. If I were working at LinkedIn, I would be pushing an API to Facebook quickly and also universal login that web managers could integrate into their site. This identity systems could feed into recruiting systems, monster.com and even the ‘career’ pages on corporate websites –let me fill out my core information (or different versions of it) once and submit to many. It’s an API really, and would actually be a competitor to some identity management systems, almost like OpenID.

I believe that if LinkedIn doesn’t open an API sooner than 9 months, they may be falling back further than they think. Although the hResume move was interesting strategically as hResume has not been widely adopted yet.

Its no secret that I felt that Seth Godin’s 59 Smartest Orgs Online was a little biased and lacked a wide enough perspective. One of the things that I remember mentioning at a morning meeting discussing the list was the almost lack of projects using Google Earth and KML, a really amazing tool to give a global context to phenomena. Since Google Earth launched its Google Earth Outreach Program yesterday, I though I’d present my Top 5 Smartest Orgs on Google Earth. In no particular order.

Appalachian Voices Mountaintop Removal in Google Earth

Declan Butler’s Avian Flu Outbreaks in Google Earth

Earthwatch – Sweetwater’s Rhinos in Google Earth

UNEP – Amazon Deforestation in Google Earth

USHMM Crisis in Darfur in Google Earth

The one thing I would like to see is a way to integrate a donation management system into the Google Earth solution which would allow the user to donate to a project, and maybe even specifically to sponsor a particular rhino, just as an example.

UPDATE: The fact that the users as well as the grant program is heavily biased towards US based orgs is a bit annoying, but is something that we have come to expect from Google.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Forgot to add BrightEarth who are doing some pretty cool things with Google Earth, ESRI ArcGIS Explorer and NASA’s World Wind.

A bit of an old one now, but NPower’s guide to choosing your donor management software is a useful guide.

Download the workbook and companion resources from here.

Seth Godin along with NetSquared and Get Active, have announced their top 59 smartest nonprofit organisations online. The list is a mixed bag with one of the requirements, that the organisation have a page on squidoo, has left many people with a nasty taste in their mouth. There were some that did welcome the list, you can mostly find links to their sites here.

According to the promo material – “… These are organizations that give their volunteers and members a voice and get out of the way. They’re pros at mobilizing awareness online. They’re experimentors. Innovators. On a mission. They’re fearless …”

Blood:Water Mission

January 12, 2007

I’m a big fan of the blood:water mission. Check out their promo video.